Gambia : Mariam Jack Denton Elected Speaker, 5 other women in National...

Gambia : Mariam Jack Denton Elected Speaker, 5 other women in National Assembly

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Mariam Jack Denton nominated by Gambian President Adama Barrow as National Assembly member was today elected speaker by her fellow MPs.

The new speaker today, April 11 took an oath of office, the allegiance and secrecy oaths, all of which were administered by the Chief Justice of the Republic of The Gambia, Hassan Jallow.

Mariam Dentonwho is one of three women nominated (not elected) promised to leave up to expectations and remain impartial.  She also pledged to work with all sides in the interest of the welfare of the people of The Gambia.

The first female lawyer of The Gambia, Mariam Jack Denton is also one of the numerous female victims of former President Yayha Jammeh.  On April6, 2006, she was arresteddetained and held in-communicado for several months without any charge until her release on July 24 2006.

The same day (July 24) she was forced to report to the police station when her son, aunt, and driver were held in by the police against the judge’s ruling.to free her earlier that day. Mrs. Jack-Denton was released on Tuesday, 25th July 2006.

She is also the daughter of Sir Alieu S. Jack, the first speaker of Parliament of The Republic of The Gambia from 1962 to 1972.

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Five female NAMs also sworn in

Of the fifty-three Gambian National Assembly Members (NAMs) elected on Thursday, April 6 three were women, Fatoumatta K. Jawara, United Democratic Party (UDP), member for Tallinding ; Fatoumatta Njie, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Kadi Camara, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).

The UDP’s Fatoumata K. Jawara told RFI, “I’ve become a symbol, but it’s not just me, it’s teamwork and I’m a part of that symbol.”

On April 2, at an event organised by victims of former President Yahya Jammeh and his entourage, Fatoumata K Jawara, claimed that following her arrest alongside the late Solo Sandeng (UDP’s Youth Organiser) a year ago, she was tortured and raped by the NIA and spent three (3) days in a coma.  They refused her and other arrested women treatment, held them in-communicado and refused them attendance of their trial sessions.  She says their absence in public was due to the fact that physically, they were in a very bad shape and the NIA decided against bringing them to Court.

Nominated NAMs

Ndey Secka Sallah, a radio broadcaster and YaKumba Jaitehare the two other female NAMs, amongst the five President Adama Barrow is constitutionally allowed to nominate.  The othertwo nominees, male are, Alhaji Momodou LK Sanneh, the Deputy Speaker and Majanko Samusa, Member.   The Speaker and Deputy speaker shall be elected out of these five.

Ndey Seckaal so represents a minority group, the visually impaired.  She is the first disabled person to serve in the Gambian National Assembly.

This brings to a total six women in the Gambia National assembly.  The speaker, 3 elected members and two other nominated members.

UDP Majority Party

The election of April 6 brought the UDP, whose leader Ousainou Darboe and several members ofits party leadership were held, charged and sentenced to long prison sentences have 31 seats in the National Assembly, former president Yayha Jammeh’s APRC 5 seats, Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) five seats, the National Reconciliation Party (NRP) five seats, People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS)four seats, People’s Progressive Party of the first president Sir Dawda Jawara 2 seats, and one Independent candidate.